On a sweltering summer day, 25 GSDM students and faculty set up in the halls of Fenway Park to educate teenagers about oral health and provide, in some cases, the youngsters’ first dental screenings. It was all part of Boston Public Schools’ Middle O! Middle School Orientation Event, offering resources for sixth graders entering middle school.
The GSDM chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA) sponsored the community outreach opportunity. Students worked alongside Oral Health Promotion Director Kathy Lituri, Clinical Instructor Dee Devlin, and Clinical Instructor Ana Keohane. Many who were not SNDA members attended, including first-year students who plan to join SNDA this year.
Jobren Dingle DMD 17 entered GSDM this summer and Middle O! was his first volunteer event with the School.
“I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to promote oral health to young children and their families,” he said. “Some children at the event informed me that they have never been to a dentist before, so the oral screenings we provided were their very first time in a dental setting.”
He added, “I look forward to becoming more involved in community events while attending GSDM.”
Third- and fourth-year students screened children while younger dental students recorded the results. Volunteers gave out mouthguards, toothbrushes, and toothpaste and played oral-health related games that could earn the middle schoolers prizes.
This was the first time at Middle O! for SNDA Vice-President Daniella Rizzo DMD16. She appreciated the opportunity to educate incoming middle school students on the importance of oral hygiene.
She said, “Many young children have inadequate knowledge of proper brushing and flossing techniques, so I felt it was a huge responsibility to inform these children. Volunteering at Middle O! helped me grow as a caring and conscientious dental student while working with the Boston community.”
Several celebrities attended Middle O! too: Wally the Green Monster, and Buddha and Rosebud from Disney’s Super Buddies.
GSDM volunteers included: Reza Alavi DMD 16, Richa Bhatt AS 15, Heidi Borenstein DMD 17, Rushul R. Dang AS 15, Jobren Dingle DMD 17, Jessica Finkielsztein DMD 16, Andrew Grinsell DMD 17, Michael Lee DMD 15, Luri Lee DMD 16, Matt Mara DMD 16, Alyssa Mazzoli DMD 16, Alex Nguyen DMD 17, Ryan Pasiewicz DMD 15, Alyssa Peracchio DMD 16, Daniella Rizzo DMD 16, Marianella Romero AS 15, Michael Russo DMD 15, Himanshu Shah DMD 15, Paul (Kirpal) Toor AS 14, Divya Upadhyay AS 15, Josh Williams DMD 15, Yoshika Yamamoto DMD 15, and pre-dental students William Alvarez, Rachel Boschetti, and Rohit Gupte.